2010-11-10 / Front Page

Andy Brodbeck Humbled By Citizen Of The Year Honor

by David Pugh Buckeye Staff Writer

Andy Brodbeck, left, receives the Citizen of the Year award from Ed Bracken, first vice president, Archbold Lions Club. The Archbold Lions Club and Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce sponsor the annual award.– photo courtesy Royal Images      Andy Brodbeck, left, receives the Citizen of the Year award from Ed Bracken, first vice president, Archbold Lions Club. The Archbold Lions Club and Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce sponsor the annual award.– photo courtesy Royal Images Great leaders inspire loyalty among those they lead, and Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, discovered Andy Brodbeck, Archbold fire chief and 2010 Citizen of the Year, is truly a great leader.

Speaking at the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting and Citizen of the Year banquet, Thursday, Nov. 4, Wyse told the crowd he asked the officers of the Archbold Fire Department for some funny stories about Andy.

He didn’t get a reply.

He asked again; again, nothing.

Wyse told Andy and the crowd the department offi- cers “didn’t want me making fun of you up here.”

Indeed, there were no funny stories at Andy’s expense, only praise for a man who, throughout his life, had served God, his family, and his community well.


Andy’s eldest son, Kyle, noted that his father had been called “a calming voice in the midst of chaos.”

But he said that calming voice “didn’t seem that calm to me” on the rare occasions when he rebelled against his mother.

Kyle said the strongest part of his father’s body was the index finger of his left hand, especially when pointed at him, followed by the words, “listen up here.” At that point, he knew he was in trouble.

Kyle said he had been fortunate to work for his father in the family business and at Sauder Village, where he learned, “My father is a great leader.”

He listed several of the qualities of a great leader. After each one, he added, “Yup, that’s my dad.”

Citing the expression “moment of greatness,” Kyle said his father had been “great every moment."

Son Kurt said sons love to brag about their fathers’ athletic abilities, and he did his share of bragging about his dad, who was an outstanding basketball player and golfer.

But Kurt said he never bragged that he could beat up other kids’ fathers, “because my dad’s scrawny.”

One thing Kurt said he could brag about is his father’s character, because it far exceeds his athletic ability. While athletic ability fades over time, character never does.

Both sons talked about how their father supported them, encouraged them, and raised them up when they were down.

Kurt said his father had taught him, “how to be a great dad, and a great husband.”


David Lersch, a member of Andy’s church, Archbold Evangelical, talked about his leadership roles in the church and on the board of Solid Rock Missions.

But he also mentioned a 1991 house fire in Archbold, in which three children were trapped in a burning home.

Lersch said the smoke was thick and flames were showing through the roof when the fire department arrived. An Archbold police officer hoisted Andy through a bedroom window, where he found a little girl and handed her limp body back out the window.

Andy and four other firefi ghters– Lee Sauder, Russ Wyse, Nathan Sauder, and Kenny Cowell– then rescued two other children from the basement.

For their bravery, they received a commendation from the Ohio State Fire Commission. All the children survived.


When Andy approached the podium, after hearing the praise heaped upon him, all he could say at first was a simple, awe-struck, “Wow.”

After talking about his years in the catering business, serving at Chamber banquet, he said, “Tonight’s a little different. Standing up here puts me out of my comfort zone.

“As I’ve told a number of you, this is a very humbling experience,” he said.

He said the title “Citizen of the Year” actually reflects on the people he worked and lived with, and while he could not name them all, he accepted the award on their behalf.

He spoke of his wife, Sherri, saying it should be her standing at the podium instead of him.

“I can’t tell you the number of times I left her alone, or with two small children or grandchildren, to answer a fire call. But I never heard her complain once,” he said.

He said he had tried to teach his sons respect, integrity, to love God, and to love people. Along the way, there were many times they had taught him, he said.

He also acknowledged his parents, who have supported him his entire life.

On behalf of his family, he accepted the Citizen of the Year honor.

Fire Department

He also spoke of the fire department and the other departments that support them.

“Together,” he said, “we see and do things others would rather walk away from, and we encourage and support each other.”

He and the 39 other individuals on the Archbold- German Township Fire Department sacrifice their time and risk their lives, putting others’ welfare before their own. On their behalf, he accepted the honor.

He also spoke of the Rotary and Lions clubs, their work in both the community and in Haiti. On their behalf, he accepted the honor.

Brodbeck applauded the schools, noting the incredible teachers, administrators, and coaches “who pour their lives into their students. It’s still that way today.”

He talked about Archbold’s business community, and the difficulties it faces. He said his past employers, including Sauder Manufacturing and Sauder Village, had given him opportunities, and made him “part of who I am today.

“This part of the evening is not about me,” he said.

“Instead, it’s about the family and community I love, and I am blessed to be a part of.

“Thank you for giving me the honor of representing you,” he said.

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